North Dakota to allow online casino, sports betting on tribal grounds

North Dakota governor Doug Burgum and the chairpersons of the state’s five tribal nations have signed new gaming compacts, opening the door for online offerings on tribal reservations.


Mobile betting will be legalised in areas within the physical boundaries of the tribal land. An addendum added to the compacts by the tribes to allow those types of games outside the borders of the reservations was not included in the final draft.

However, the text of agreements does contain language that would facilitate the long-term implantation of that goal, with provisions included that would allow the tribes to offer online gaming statewide if so authorised by state and federal law.

Future of statewide online gaming

In November, following the submission of the final drafts of the compacts for review, Burgum said that the power to grant tribal extension of online gaming statewide rested with the state house, not the governor’s mansion.

“While we understand and appreciate the desire by some of the tribes to extend online gaming beyond their reservation boundaries, a clear legal path does not exist for the governor to grant such a broad expansion of gaming in the compact,” he said.

The governor also hinted that gaming could be on the agenda in the upcoming 2023 legislative session.

“We plan to work with the legislature to bring all parties to the table and take a comprehensive look at gaming during the upcoming 2023 session, including sports betting, e-tabs and other gaming.”

The new agreements have been sent to the US Department of the Interior, who will have 45 days to approve or reject the signed compacts. If the department takes no action in that time, then the compacts will automatically go into effect.

New North Dakota compacts

The legal age of gambling on reservations is also to be lowered from 21 years to 19 years old. An exception will remain in place for those with a military ID, who will be able to place bets at 18.

Tribes will also be able to accept credit and debit cards for any reason, including cashless gaming and account wagering. Under the terms of the agreements, the state will conduct one annual casino inspection at the tribe’s expense, while any additional visits will be at the state’s expense. The cost of state regulatory activity reimbursed by the tribes cannot exceed $10,000 dollars per year.

The tribes also agreed to provide $25,000 each per year to support gambling addiction treatment, education and prevention services.

“We are deeply grateful to the tribal chairs and their representatives for their collaboration throughout these many months of negotiations, and we look forward to continuing the mutually beneficial gaming partnership between the state and the sovereign tribal nations with whom we share geography,” said Burgum.

The compacts happen in the context of the recent failure of the Californian tribes to authorise sports betting on tribal land.